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Tasking on something favourable to the taskee

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Hi Everyone!

Context: I sent a client of mine to a colleague lawyer for just one case (because she had expertise in a specific field), and she (the colleague lawyer) proposed I help her do the work and thus share her fees. The agreement was that my client (which is her client for just this case) would first pay her, and then I would be paid by her (who would calculate my quota).

The client pays her, and my colleague then sends me this text:

"Good morning Bel. I received the payment today. Do the math and let me know. I guess it should be half the taxable amount".

I feel she is deliberately disrespecting me here with the part I blackened. And that this is a particularly insidious way to try to have me submit to her, since she is doing this on something favorable to me (i.e. me getting paid from her), to start. This to me is a test, so to speak.

My solution so far: I just did not answer her. One week has passed, and I think I am just going to wait to see what she will do. If she does anything more, she will by herself give me power back. If she doesn't... well she really cannot not do anything here, because that would mean reneging our agreement and not interacting with me anymore.

Do you agree with my view and solution, or do you see a better answer?

Edit: I realized after posting that, as usual with my posts, this should probably go in the "Work" section...

Hello Bel,

in this case I would stay factual. You guys are equal and had an agreement. So there is no hierarchical relationship here.

There is another interpretation: she wants to be fair and let you decide what is the fair share you did.

Whatever the interpretation, it seems you're not feeling comfortable with the situation. That might indicate that there is a power move here.

Anyway, power move or no power move, as I said I would stay factual if you don't feel comfortable with the situation:

Hello X,

Thank you for your email. If I remember correctly, you said that you would be the one calculate the quota, right?

(Please let me know so we can close this part.)

Thank you again for the proposition and the fruitful collaboration,

Looking forward to hear from you,

Best regards,

Bel

In this communication: you stay polite, you power protect, you go win-win, you give her the benefit of the doubt, you hint for future collaboration, you stay warm, you remind her the agreement.

I would stay cool-headed/detached/fact-based, warm and collaborative in my tone.

If she does not agree: then more power to you. The person calculating the fee is the one with power: you control the outcome.

Being tasked and/or accepting a task can be strategic in the long run. For instance, you could do it this time and next time (you want repeat business, right?), you suggest that she could do it:

Since last time I did the calculation, would you mind doing it this time?

Always polite, respectful and power-protecting.

Last, but not least: it's not that important. The tone is very straight-to-the-matter. I think it falls in these "benign/day-to-day power moves". It's up to you. Either way, your goal is to have fair payment and future win-win collaborations. That's my perception of the situation. So you could still let it slide.

Lastly you could let it slide and address it:

Hello X,

If I remember well, you proposed to do the calculation last time we spoke, right?

Anyway, no big deal I did it, here it is.

It shows that you don't let yourself be walked over and at the same time that you're a gentleman.

Edit: I changed my mind: the one right above is rather passive aggressive. The first one is assertive.

My preferred option is still the first one: fact-based.

Cheers!

Lucio Buffalmano, Kavalier and Bel have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoKavalierBel

Thank you John.

I should add that the agreement was to split the fee 50/50 after taxes, and that the “calculation” would only concern the taxes she would have to pay.

That’s probably what also makes me think she is pulling a power move here. She is telling me to calculate my half by taking into account her taxes.

John Freeman has reacted to this post.
John Freeman

Alright. Different story. Then I would definitely go with the first one and assert myself.

Bel has reacted to this post.
Bel

I also see little benefit in waiting here.

Unless waiting confers some obvious benefit, generally speaking, there are many advantages to closing as fast as possible, as many tasks as you can, rather than dragging them on (both to you, and to how you're perceived).

I'm not sure I fully understand the situation, but I'd just write her something like:

Awesome, glad it worked out so quickly.
Since I don't know your taxes, I think you should make the caculation.
It should be simple anyway, if I'd have to guess, it'd be total - 40%, /2

The last line is just in case the calculation is simple and you can correctly estimate it.
In that case, it's just more effective to do it and you also save your own time.

And there is one more advantage in the last line: it makes it harder for her to cheat.

John Freeman, Kavalier and Bel have reacted to this post.
John FreemanKavalierBel
Community, new content and Charisma University moved here.

Thank you Lucio.

I see. It is as if in my mind, not responding would let the other person understand what they are doing is not cool, and self-correct. But now I guess it is not so…

I guess this also ties to our other discourse on people doing these things with aware intention or not. Meaning, if they do this without awareness they are unlikely to self-correct unless they receive a direct response.

I notice both you and John are suggesting a response more polite than her original message: what if I did the same to her, meaning

“Hi, glad it worked out so quickly! But you do the math since you know your taxes. Talk soon”.

I will try to answer my own question: stooping to her level would mean her provocation worked.

Update: she did the "calculation" herself and just sent me my fee. I had not yet done anything.

I then called her to thank her, and apologized for not answering sooner.

But really, the point here is that the "calculation/math" thing to do was essentially a non-problem, as in inexistent/easy math. So puzzling.

Thank you John, and thank you Lucio. Next time I'll do better, maybe you are right that I'm taking too many unaware things people say or do as signs of power moves. I hope this will reduce with time.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

It might be because you’ve been hurt. And now you are on your guard. It will pass I believe.

Bel has reacted to this post.
Bel
Quote from Bel on April 22, 2022, 7:31 pm

But really, the point here is that the "calculation/math" thing to do was essentially a non-problem, as in inexistent/easy math. So puzzling.

(...) maybe you are right that I'm taking too many unaware things people say or do as signs of power moves. I hope this will reduce with time.

It's also part of the "over-analyze phase", and it's an important stage of personal growth.

As John suggests, having had the (mis)fortune of being close to some power-aware value-takers when you weren't yet fully aware might make that phase deeper.

In time, you'll eventually only analyze the more relevant and significant situations, but the more you (over-)analyze any interaction, the quicker you'll settle to a more stable, time-effective "aware without being overly-triggered" phase.

In this specific case, it might also be a positive sign: that she wanted to show you total honesty and empower you by letting you come up with the final number.
I'd have personally read that as "a low-power woman who is more tentative when it comes to leading and decision-making".

John Freeman and Bel have reacted to this post.
John FreemanBel
Community, new content and Charisma University moved here.
Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on April 23, 2022, 1:51 am

It's also part of the "over-analyze phase", and it's an important stage of personal growth.

(...)

In time, you'll eventually only analyze the more relevant and significant situations, but the more you (over-)analyze any interaction, the quicker you'll settle to a more stable, time-effective "aware without being overly-triggered" phase.

Thank you Lucio, this is very helpful.

In this specific case, it might also be a positive sign: that she wanted to show you total honesty and empower you by letting you come up with the final number.
I'd have personally read that as "a low-power woman who is more tentative when it comes to leading and decision-making".

I think you are absolutely right.

If I re-analyze the interaction with this person so far, I cannot see any signs of bad intention apart from this "tasking" move.

So we could say, based on what you mention here, that when tasking is done to empower you to do something that "puts you on top", it is not a power move but a power-protecting move, because it empowers the taskee?

Kavalier has reacted to this post.
Kavalier
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